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Devin Harris “Offeneded” By LeBron’s Comments on “Contraction”

December 29, 2010

I have two feelings when I first heard about this. One, Devin Harris is right for standing up to LeBron James and being offended for being pointed out. Two, LeBron is right. No doubt, this league would be a lot better if it were 26 teams, instead of 30. Better teams equal better ratings and attendance which equal better revenue. However, I would feel quite sad for the four cities who lost an NBA franchise due to the greater good of the league. There will not be a contraction, no time soon at least.


Devin Harris said yesterday he was “offended’’ that LeBron James brought up his and Brook Lopez’s name last week when saying he thought the NBA would be better if teams like the Nets and Minnesota Timberwolves weren’t around, and that their star players, like Harris and Lopez and Minnesota’s Kevin Love, could be put on other teams.

“For him to talk about us specifically was a little offensive,’’ Harris said after practice, and before the Nets left for Oklahoma City for tonight’s game against the Thunder. “I mean, from a business standpoint … what’s best, we’re still trying to figure this out. But (James is) in the mind-set of, ‘Let’s just team everybody up with stars and kind of duke it out,’ which, it kind of was like that in previous ages, but who’s to say what’s best for the league.’’

Speaking after a Miami Heat practice last Thursday, James said, “Imagine if you could take Kevin Love off Minnesota and add him to another team and you shrink the (league). Looking at some of the teams that aren’t that great, you take Brook Lopez or you take Devin Harris off these teams that aren’t that good right now and you add him to a team that could be really good.

“Not saying let’s take New Jersey and let’s take Minnesota out of the league. But hey, you guys are not stupid, I’m not stupid. It would be great for the league.’’

Nets coach Avery Johnson strongly disagreed with James’ comments in a conference call with Nets reporters Sunday, and James took heavy criticism for seeming to side with the NBA owners, who have spoken about contracting teams as they prepare to negotiate a new CBA with the players this summer.

On Monday, James backed off his earlier comments, saying he didn’t advocate the league contracting and claiming not to know what the word ‘contraction’ meant.

“I had no idea what the word ‘contraction’ meant before I saw it on the internet,’’ James said Monday. “I never even mentioned that. That word never even came out of my mouth. I was just saying how the league was back in the ’80s and how it could be good again. I never said, ‘Let’s take some of the teams out.’ ’’

For the record, Harris said he “probably’’ would think contracting teams is a bad idea, and he admitted he is worried about the CBA negotiations and the probability of a lockout of the players.

“Nobody wants a lockout, nobody wants to — I mean, we know negotiations are going to be tough,’’ he said. “If guys said they weren’t worried, I think they’d be lying. I think everybody’s a little bit worried.’’

Harris said that to this point, he has not been involved in the inner workings of the NBA Players’ Association, but he realizes he may have to get involved, as the Nets’ player rep, Joe Smith, was traded to the Lakers in the three-team deal that brought Sasha Vujacic to the Nets on Dec. 15.

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